'Lot of work to do'

Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Mike Markuson knows the Rebel staff has their hands full this spring in bringing along an offense in its infancy in many respects, but he believes things will be fine in time. Read about it inside.



Hard work.

And more patience. . .

Accoring to Mike Markuson, those are the requirements for developing the Ole Miss offense in the coming weeks and months.

Mike Markuson

Everyone knew it would be that way with all the losses that side of the ball has seen over the past two years, so it's no shocker, especially for Markuson, who is replacing three starting interior linemen off last year's squad.

"It's a process," said Markuson after Friday's scrimmage that was pretty much owned by the Rebel defense. "We just met with all the offensive personnel and we told them we would have patience with them, but we are expecting them to start becoming more physical and to stop making so many mistakes.

"We're playing against an awfully good defensive front. Two things can happen - we can get better or we can get worse. The latter is not an option, so we have to get more physical and be more precise. We know it's a process, but we don't want it to become a longer process than necessary."

One of the keys is consistency.

In the Friday scrimmage, the offense was not totally shut down. They did make plays, even made a couple of big plays, but it's the consistency that is lacking, as Mike explains.

Bradley Sowell

"We'd make a good play and then go backwards. It's about moving the chains and being more consistent play-in and play-out," he said. "We have not reached that level by any stretch of the imagination yet.

"It's also about getting in the end zone, which we only did a couple of times in the scrimmage. But we will get better and we will continue to work. We've got patience as long as they are working hard and they are doing that."

One of the biggest questions entering spring training was in the middle of the OL. Friday, Markuson moved A.J. Hawkins up from second team center to first team snapper. Alex Washington and Rishaw Johnson are currently the top guards.

"A.J. played some at center and some at guard. Evan Swindall played some with the first team as well at center. Those guys just need all the reps they can get - and, again, patience," he noted.

The return of Johnson has been good and has helped shore up the middle somewhat, but Markuson wants more from him as well.

Rishaw Johnson

"He's done some good things, but he has to continue to get better, just like all of them," he said. "We have two veterans at tackle and they are doing OK, but I want more from them too. We have to get better across the board.

"We have to become more physical as a unit, not just up front, but across the board."

Markuson said there's a lot to develop, but nobody is overwhelmed with the task at hand.

"New line, new quarterback, new wideouts - there's a lot of new out there," he laughed, "but it didn't catch us off guard. We knew it was coming.

"Now we have to put it all together. We are working hard, grinding them a little bit and demanding more and more as each day passes. We'll be OK."

Time and patience, the thought process is, will cure some of these spring offensive issues.

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